One could argue the best love stories of all time have already been written — novels like Anna Karenina and Pride & Prejudice are prime examples. We’d say the same about engagement rings. Some of our favorite styles were commissioned well before the 21st century. (Just imagine the romantic histories that could be tied to each piece.) Of course, this is not to knock any contemporary designers who create that magic out of thin air. In fact, many of the modern design elements we're loving right now — like filigree metalwork, ouroboroses, and daisy clusters — actually find their origins in centuries prior.
For this guide, we sought out vintage-jewelry aficionados Doyle & Doyle founder Elizabeth Doyle, The One I Love owner Mia Moross and designer Elizabeth Kranz, and Erica Weiner. With them, we're exploring six famous jewelry eras — Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and retro — and the best certified vintage engagement rings to shop from each. If you weren't a lover of heirloom baubles before reading this, something tells us you're about to have a newfound interest in Grandma's jewelry box.